Do not Assail Young Beginners with Minor Matters

It is not the best way, to assail young beginners with minor matters, but to show them a more excellent way and train them in fundamental points. Then other things will not gain credence with them. It is not amiss to conceal their defects, to excuse some failings, to commend their performances, to encourage their progress, to remove all difficulties out of their way, to help them in every way to bear the yoke of religion with greater ease, to bring them to love God and his service, lest they acquire a distaste for it before they know it. ~ The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes

Do not be Discouraged at the Small Beginnings of Grace

Let us not therefore be discouraged at the small beginnings of grace, but look on ourselves as elected to be `holy and without blame’ (Eph. 1:4). Let us look on our imperfect beginning only to enforce further striving to perfection, and to keep us in a low opinion of ourselves. Otherwise, in case of discouragement, we must consider ourselves as Christ does, who looks on us as those he intends to fit for himself. Christ values us by what we shall be, and by what we are elected unto. We call a little plant a tree, because it is growing up to be so. `Who has despised the day of small things?’ (Zech. 4:10). Christ would not have us despise little things. ~ The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes

Bringing a Man from Nature to Grace

Ungodly spirits, ignorant of God’s ways in bringing his children to heaven, censure broken hearted Christians as miserable persons, whereas God is doing a gracious, good work with them. It is no easy matter to bring a man from nature to grace, and from grace to glory, so unyielding and intractable are our hearts. ~ The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes

There is a Difference Between Being Sanctified and Civilized

Others think that because they have given up their riotous ways, and are broken off from evil company or some particular lust, and are reduced to sobriety and civility, they are now real converts. They forget that there is a vast difference between being sanctified and civilized. They forget that many seek to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and are not far from it, and arrive to the almost of Christianity, and yet fall short at last. While conscience holds the whip over them, many will pray, hear, read, and forbear their delightful sins; but no sooner is the lion asleep than they are at their sins again. Who more religious than the Jews when God’s hand was upon them? Yet no sooner was the affliction over, than they forgot God. You may have forsaken a troublesome sin, and have escaped the gross pollutions of the world, and yet in all this not have changed your carnal nature. ~ A Sure Guide to Heaven by Joseph Alleine

When Sin Lets Us Alone We May Let Sin Alone

Sin doth not only still abide in us, but is still acting, still labouring to bring forth the deeds of the flesh. When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone; but as sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, so ought our contrivances against it to be vigorous at all times and in all conditions, even where there is least suspicion. Sin doth not only abide in us, but “the law of the members is still rebelling against the law of the mind,” Rom. vii. 23; and “the spirit that dwells in us lusteth to envy,” James iv. 5. It is always in continual work; “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,” Gal. v. 17; lust is still tempting and conceiving sin, James i. 14; in every moral action it is always either inclining to evil, or hindering from that which is good, or disframing the spirit from communion with God. ~ The Mortification of Sin by John Owen

Take Heed How You Walk with Doubting Company

Do you want peace and comfort and quietude of soul? Take heed how you walk with doubting company … one opposer of godliness draws on another, and one adulterer makes another; so one doubting Christian makes another. You that are weak, and full of doubtings, should go and lean upon those that are strong and have full assurance; and you that have assurance should give the shoulder to those that are weak, and say, Come, and lean upon me, and I will be an help unto you. You know how it is with the ivy and the vine; the ivy leans upon the oak, and the vine upon the posts or the house-side; the ivy and the vine do not lean one upon another; if the ivy and the vine should come and lean upon one another, what twisting would there be. Both would fall to the ground: but the ivy leans upon the oak, and the vine upon the posts or the house-side. ~ A Lifting up for the Downcast by William Bridge

Affliction Produces Much Good

As the hard frosts in winter bring on the flowers in the spring, and as the night ushers in the morning-star, so the evils of affliction produce much good to those that love God. “All Things for Good” pg. 27